Every now and then, I do a Yelp search for new wine bars in our beautiful San Francisco. I am always on the lookout for a new place that is the right mixture of casual and elegant with a great wine selection. At the end of the day, I expect a wine bar to be about the wine. If there was ever a city where the restaurants and bars get popular based on the quality of the food/drinks and service they provide, NOT gimmicks or trendiness, it’s San Francisco.
The last search I made yielded a new wine bar in San Francisco’s Union Square called Eno. I have to admit that my expectations were low at first – Union Square is a tourist trap, after all, and I could only assume this new wine bar was going to cater to a tourist’s palate. Regardless of location, I decided to pay it a visit and catch up with some of my lovely lady-friends in the process.
When I first arrived, my friend had already gotten there and she was on her laptop catching up on some work. A wine bar with Wi-Fi? HAVE I DIED AND GONE TO HEAVEN? Yes, it was true – Eno has free Wi-Fi for their customers to use. Not only is it free, but it’s decently fast. I could easily see this becoming a frequent spot for me to come to and catch up on my Winelandia correspondence while waiting for my husband to get off work, who works just 2 blocks away.
The big surprise was next. I opened the wine list and was very impressed. Pinot Gris from a volcano in Hungary, a slightly oxidative Chenin Blanc petillant-naturel from Montlouis-sur-Loire, a red wine made in our neighboring Berkeley by Broc Cellars, Chardonnay from Green Valley. Not only did they have an impressive bottle list, but they served a ton of wines by the glass and even have a tongue-in-cheek list of reasonably priced flights to choose from. You can get your bubble fix with the “Sekts, Bubbs & Rock ‘n Roll” (3 wines for $17), take a tour of Italy with “This Boot was Made for Drinking” (3 wines, also $17), or an impressive selection of mineral wines called “Kick Ash Whites” (3 wines, also $17). Great wines? Check. Lack of pretense and a sense of humor? Double-check.
On to the food! What good is wine without some delicious snacks to nom upon while you are drinking your selection of 3 different wines, using their free Wi-Fi to get some work done and also chatting with your hilarious lady-friends? The first thing I noticed upon walking in to Eno was their huge case containing whole wheels of cheese (another indication I might be in heaven?). Next to the cheese locker was a case of fancy-looking chocolates of all shapes and colors. They also had an inventive and interesting menu featuring seasonal foods at reasonable price points. I had the Grilled Peach & Buratta Salad with Black Pepper Vinaigrette for $11. It was lovely and inspired me to make one at home with some fresh nectarines from the farmer’s market. They also have a nice selection of cheese & charcuterie plates, sandwiches and bruschetta. You can view the full menu here.
What more could you ask for if the place has great wines at a reasonable price-point, attentive service, delicious and creative food, free Wi-Fi and a very easy-to-get-to location? Well, the next thing on the list is ambiance and Eno has plenty of that. The decor is modern yet casual and slightly masculine while still being cozy. There were wood-paneled walls, cute bistro tables, and comfy chairs in the back next to a fireplace. Yes, you heard me. Eno also has a fireplace and right in front of it are two comfy seats. This is not only an excellent Get Work Done and Drink Wine spot, but also a superb Date Spot.
I highly recommend you check out this great little wine bar before it gets popular and you can still catch that fireplace seat during our fair city’s most popular hour, Happy Hour. While this may be the best seat in the house, there is also an ample amount of window seating where you can watch tourists, business-folk and transients alike try to make their way down Geary Street. Eno may be my new favorite spot, I’ve already been there three times in less than a month. Maybe you’ll see me at a window seat, quietly banging away on my laptop while enjoying a flight of delicious and obscure wines that are hard to pronounce. Just make sure you say Hi!